Family trips spark a career path
By Lazaro Gonzalez
Shelbie Reilly’s love affair with the hospitality industry began unexpectedly at a young age while vacationing around the world with her parents and older sister. It wasn’t until her sophomore year in high school that she realized she could have a career in it.
Her family had moved from California to central Florida, but the daughter of a Cuban mother and Irish father knew she wanted to come to South Florida. FIU’s Chaplin school was her top choice, not only for its fast-track undergraduate/graduate program, but also because she could connect with her Cuban roots.
Shelbie became active in the Hospitality Student Leadership Council and peer mentoring program, attended sustainability conferences, and volunteered in the LGBT community, all while working full time at the Hyatt in Miami. She has earned multiple “Employee of the Month” awards and was nominated for the 2017 Greater Miami & The Beaches Inn Key Awards for front office achievement.
She was the only American student selected to participate in the Hyatt Student Prize competition in Paris this year, where students from the most prestigious hospitality schools in the world get to demonstrate their leadership and innovative skills. She made it to the semifinals, and credits her success to FIU, especially to Associate Dean Diann Newman’s team-building/leadership class.
Upon graduation, Shelbie will switch from “hello” to “aloha.” She’s heading to Waikiki, Hawaii to complete Hyatt’s Operations Corporate Management Training Program, guaranteeing her a management-level position.